When Ayanda Martin left his home town of Dimbaza in the Eastern Cape in search of an opportunity in Port Elizabeth, he did not think that just seven years later he would be so close to achieving what once seemed like a mere pipe dream.
Martin, 31, who is a security staff member at Nelson Mandela University (NMU), is in his final year of study towards obtaining a BA Forensic Science and Technology degree.
He is excited at the prospect of being the first in his family to obtain an undergraduate degree — an achievement he thought he would only have managed to tick off his list at least five years from now.
With a penchant for all things related to investigations and criminal justice, it was no coincidence that Martin ended up building a career in the security industry, having worked for a number of private security companies.
He is part of the cohort of about 800 staff members who were insourced by the NMU following the November 2015 resolution by the university council to end the outsourcing of service workers as management believed the practice led to exploitation of labour and unethical practices.
“That was a very good initiative that has changed my life. I didn’t realise then what it would mean for us,” he said.
“Before [the insourcing], we were exploited — and powerless — because we wanted to keep our jobs. Things are a lot better now.
“That’s why when an opportunity to